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My 03A3 lives!

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by MachIVshooter, Jul 22, 2015.

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  1. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    So, back in '06, I was at a small local shop, and I spotted what looked like a Type 99 in a dark, dusty corner, away from the for sale rack. I asked about it, and my initial guess what correct. It turned out to be a pretty clean specimen, with a partially in-tact mum. So I asked him what he wanted for it, to which he replied "fifty bucks". I couldn't get my wallet out fast enough. After handing him the cash and marveling at my new prize, he says "here, wanna take this too?". "This" was a completely stripped down Remington 03A3-just a barreled receiver with stock. Of course I said yes, though.

    I would search out parts online or at gun shows from time to time, but just never did plunk down the $300-$400 to piece it back together. So for nearly a decade, it has sat in the back of my safe.

    Well, last week I was cruising some sites, looking for a reasonably priced M16A1 parts kit. Really none to be found (all $500+, and without barrels), but I did stumble across an 03A3 parts kit for $149 at Sarco. It was everything I needed except the front sight base (which is en route now). It showed up today, and I immediately went to work cleaning off cosmoline to begin assembly. After about an hour, I have a working rifle! I still need to check headspace, although my redneck check (closes easy on a loaded round, stiff on a fired case) says it's most likely fine.

    Someone had drilled & tapped for scope mounts, but the rear hole is covered by the sight, and the forward one honestly isn't very noticeable. I don't really care; it's a shooter anyway, and a sub-$200 03A3 at the end of the day!

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  2. Hardtarget

    Hardtarget Member

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    That is so cool! You've hung on to that rifle long enough to find your parts and now you can go shooting! And to beat it...she looks good ,too!

    Mark
     
  3. az_imuth

    az_imuth Member

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    Are you sure that's not an 03-A4 sniper rifle? Sure looks like it based on the location of the rollmarks. If so, then you made quite a score.
     
  4. kBob

    kBob Member

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    MachIV,

    Outstanding save! That rifle has been living in fear of hacksaws and wire wheels all these years since it lost its original parts and here it is getting a rebirth. Good work.

    BTW what happened to the Type 99?

    -kBob
     
  5. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    az_imuth

    I was thinking the same thing when I first saw it, especially with the location of the U.S. Remington Model 03-A3 rollmark on the receiver and missing the front sight assembly. If so that would make it an even greater find!
     
  6. Ohio Gun Guy

    Ohio Gun Guy Member

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    Nice! good work, I like these old us rifles!
     
  7. maxxhavoc

    maxxhavoc Member

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    Wow...looks like it might be. I would be getting a Redfield Jr scope base and checking if it lines up with those holes as well.
     
  8. Mike C2

    Mike C2 Member

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    Wow. Score of the century. I have an original M73b1 on my O3A3. $25 gun my great uncle bought from the NRA in early 60's. The scope was a $5 job at a garage sale my dad scored about the same time. But nothing like your score!

    I think SARCO also has parkerized 03A4 bases and you could score a HiLux repro scope. That's what I would do.

    Great rifle.
     
  9. PJSprog

    PJSprog Member

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    Nice! Sure does look like an A4. Either way, maybe the best free gun ever. Great score.
     
  10. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    I think you guys may be right; this rifle does fall into the 03A4 S/N range:

    All Remington 1903A4 production was in 1943 and fell between serial numbers 3407088 and 4998320. Remington made all 29,964 Model 1903A4 rifles. 1903A4 receivers were all marked MODEL 03-A3, but the markings are offset to be readable when the Redfield Junior scope mount base is installed. Some but not all Remington 1903A4 serial numbers have a Z prefix. Model 1903A4 rifles fall in three serial number blocks: 3407088 to 34427087, 4992001 to 4999045, and Z4000000 to Z4002920. It is speculated but not verified that scrapped receivers which were recovered had a letter 'A' hand stamped before the serial number.

    I'm not all that well versed on the A3 vs A4; are there any stock cartouches that would give it away?
     
  11. highpower

    highpower Member

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    That is absolutely a '03-A4. The giveaway is the location of the roll marks on the receiver. If it was mine I would forget the front sight and keep on looking for the proper bolt and scope mount.

    "Real" 'A4's bring big money nowadays.
     
  12. tark

    tark Member

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    You have a sniper rifle, from all appearances. They were stamped exactly as yours is, and even though they were listed as a 1904-A4 Sniper Rifle, the Army didn't bother to change the stamp. They simply rotated the receiver and stamped it as yours is, so the markings would be visible with the scope mounted.

    I think re-pros of the scopes and mount are available.
     
  13. morcey2

    morcey2 Member

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    ^^^^^^
    This!

    I'd definitely find a bolt and scope for it, even if they are repros while you're looking for the real thing. Awesome find!

    Matt
     
  14. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    OK, now I'm convinced. The stock and receiver are cut for the A4 bolt :D

    I thought I was done with this one, but I guess now I better start looking for a bolt, base, rings and glass.
     
  15. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Looks like back to the drawing board so to speak but in a very good way!
     
  16. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    If the stock is original to the gun, it should have a cutout for the bent bolt handle. I can't tell from the picture.
     
  17. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    It does.

    I'm pretty excited now, as I never considered a real A4 within my budget. Yeah, I've spent well over $2k on guns, but I was buying performance, not history. My low S/N Springfield M1903 was my most expensive mil-surp (although I did basically steal my SVT-40 at $200)

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    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015
  18. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    That is DEFINITELY an 03A4 -- they were marked as 03A3s with the marking positioned to prevent the serial number from being covered by the scope bases.

    Those holes drilled and tapped in the receiver are "factory original" and that rifle never wore a front sight (or a rear sight either, until you put one on.)

    You got a GREAT buy!
     
  19. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    Soooooo..........anybody got a line on a bolt? Mounts and repro scopes aren't too hard to find, but I'm coming up short on the bolt. If I had one to reverse-engineer, I could re-work the A3 bolt, but I don't think it'd come out real good going off of pictures alone. I'd rather just buy one if the prices are somewhat reasonable.
     
  20. ol' scratch

    ol' scratch Member

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    That isn't an a3. It is an a4. Great find!
     
  21. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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  22. Mike C2

    Mike C2 Member

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  23. az_imuth

    az_imuth Member

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    There's a fellow goes by the handle "chuckindenver" over on the CMP forum that may be able to help you with the bolt handle.
     
  24. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    Those A4 bolts used to be a dime a dozen 50 years ago. I know I bought one for my $39.95 Klien's 03-A3. Ah, the good old days!
    I later acquired an 03-A4 NRA rifle in a trade. My was fitted with a M84 scope alas not the Weaver 33.
    CONGRATS, You scored a real coup on this one!
    Catpop
     
  25. champ0608

    champ0608 Member

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    So awesome. As others have pointed out, that's an A4. Do not put a front sight on it. You've got a real collector firearm there. Keep it, sell it for a major profit, do whatever you want, but please return to A4 stature.
     
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